Tackling Data Sufficiency Questions in GMAT

Data sufficiency is one of the more difficult question types in GMAT. Owing to the unfamiliar nature and approach of these questions, GMAT takers are always confused with these questions. However, with strategic practice, you can easily score well in this section.

Out of the 37 questions in the math section, 14-16 questions will be from data sufficiency. The unique thing about this section is that you are not trying to arrive at an answer. You are just trying to see whether the information provided is sufficient to solve the question.

Here are some tips for tackling data sufficiency questions in GMAT:

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Familiarize yourself with the answer choices:

This is the best data sufficiency hack! The best part about data sufficiency is that the answer choices are always the same.

Those answer choices are:

Statement (1) ALONE is sufficient, but statement (2) alone is not sufficient to answer the question asked;

Statement (2) ALONE is sufficient, but statement (1) alone is not sufficient to answer the question asked;

BOTH statements (1) and (2) TOGETHER are sufficient to answer the question asked, but NEITHER statement alone is sufficient;

EACH statement ALONE is sufficient to answer the question asked;

Statements (1) and (2) TOGETHER are NOT sufficient to answer the question asked, and additional data specific to the problem are needed.

If you know these answer choices well, you can solve the problem fast. For instance, if statement (1) is not sufficient, eliminate answers A and D.

Examine both statements well:

Read and scrutinize both the statements very well. Both statements typically have no bearing on each other. Look at them independently.

Read the question well:
While you examine the statements, don’t forget the question itself. Read the question well. The question will guide your solving approach.

Know what you need:

Understand what is needed in the answer. Then see whether either statement alone has the data necessary to find the answer. After this step, check whether both statements together can lead you to the answer.

Focus on important question areas:

Data sufficiency questions frequently test overlapping sets, prime factorization and divisibility. Make sure you master these question types very well.

Don’t always solve single variable questions:

If the question asks the value of x, then don’t waste time solving for x. Only see whether you can solve the problem with the data available.

Elimination can work well:

Data sufficiency questions can easily be tackled with the elimination strategy. For instance, if statement (1) if sufficient, while statement (2) is incomprehensible, you can easily eliminate answer choices B, C and E. The answer has to be between A and D.

Attempt a few questions now.

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